The Reading First Initiative: Cautions & Recommendations

Joanne Yatvin, Ph.D., Portland State University; award-winning educator and member of the National Reading Panel
Constance Weaver, Ph.D., Western Michigan University; author of Reading Process and Practice and member of the Commission on Reading of the National Council of Teachers of English
Elaine Garan, Ph.D., California State University Fresno; award-winning researcher and author of Resisting Reading Mandates

Many educators and parents are gravely concerned about the federal government’s Reading First initiative, which was launched by the No Child Left Behind Act of January 2002. Reading First derives from an incomplete and flawed research base, the National Reading Panel Report, and from government documents and regulations that substantially misrepresent the Report’s findings. As a result, schools are now redefining their approaches to teaching and learning on the basis of inadequate research and overblown claims that promise quick fixes. In many places, teachers are being required to use scripted, one-size-fits-all commercial reading programs that are neither scientifically based nor suitable for all the children in their charge. This document addresses these concerns and offers alternatives to the limitations of the Reading First initiative.

Go to Section One: Inadequacy of the NRP Report as a Scientific Base for Reading Instruction